Over the past five years, I’ve flown more than 58,000 miles so I’m rather skilled when it comes to packing and airports.

Along the way, I’ve found a few things that make my longest flights comfortable. Or, at least more bearable.

Here are 19 things that you can pack that will help you survive a long flight.

The Best Bag For Long Flights

As you’re boarding your flight, you’ve already packed and checked your luggage. Now you’re left with your carry on and the one personal item most airlines allow.

I stopped taking a purse several years ago. I also stopped putting the items I needed most often during the flight in my carry on because it’s annoying to constantly have to open the overhead bin.

I love this High Altitude Flight Bag from Genius Pack. It can wrap around the airplane seat in front of you or to the tray table so you have quick access to all your flight needs.

Genius Pack High Altitude Fight Bag

Recharge your smartphone directly from the pack and there are compartments for your iPad, magazines, headphones & more.

Items To Pack In Your Carry On Bag

In your larger carry on bag that will be stored in the overhead bin, make sure to pack a fresh change of clothes, medicines, and anything else you could use if your checked luggage gets lost.

Don’t pack anything you might use during the flight. You don’t want to risk luggage falling on you or during restrictions from turbulence.

Instead, pack them in your smaller bag you’ve kept with you at your seat.

7 Toiletries Needed For Long Flights

A few things you should consider keeping with you would be…

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – being able to freshen up during a bathroom break or once you’re off the place is so nice. And, after a 10 hour+ flight, you’ll be doing others a favor, too.
  • Face Wipes – With all that dirty air recirculating throughout the place, you may feel dirty or your skin will feel dry. I love these Neutrogena Hydrating Face Wipes for my hands and face. It’s a flat pack so it’s easy to pack.
  • Face Mist – If you just need quick facial hydration (which I do at least once an hour because of my dry skin, try a face mist. Olay Mist works really well, doesn’t have a strong scent (others will thank you), and the bottle is 3.3oz so it can travel with you.
    Burt's Bees variety pack lip balm for travel
  • Lip Balm – Sweet Jesus, I can not stress this enough. Especially if you have dry skin or chapped lips frequently. My go-to is usually Burt’s Bees. This 4-pack of lip balm has different flavors so there’s enough to share – or not.
  • Cuticle Oil – Another must-have if you’re always on the dry side. My cuticles will actually start to hurt if I don’t add oil to them. I’m in love with this California Mango Cuticle Oil! It’s only an ounce, so it goes easily on the plane, but a little goes a long way.
  • Scrunchies – Bring them all because you know you’ll lose them. Whatever hair do-dads you need, put a few in your carry on bag.
  • Gum – This is especially important if you decide against packing a toothbrush. Not only will it help with altitude problems, but it will freshen your breath.

7 Ways to Keep Comfortable On Long Flights

Stretching and drinking water are important during a long flight, but so are these necessities to help keep you comfortable…

  • Refillable water bottle – a collapsible water bottle or one that’s refillable, is a good idea for any flight. Fill them before you get on the flight. While you’re on the flight, INSIST on a sealed bottle of water if it’s available. A 2015 study on aircraft water quality found that the water tanks are “conducive for microbial growth.”
  • Wool Socks and Slip on Shoes – Going through security, you’re going to need a pair of shoes that slip on and off easily. You can also take them off on the plane for comfort BUT make sure you don’t have stinky feet. Wear good quality wool socks to keep your feet warm and stink free. NEVER put your feet on others’ arm rests or on other seats.
  • Light Jacket or Blanket and pillow – If you’ve opted for the window seat, this is especially true. Pack a light sweater, jacket, or blanket for comfort when it’s chilly. For me, it’s a comfort thing when I’m sleeping. This travel pillow and blanket set is simple, cheap, and comes in different colors.
  • Ibuprofen and Band-Aids – Dry air and changes in altitudes can cause headaches. Also, I’m a walking accident, so I always have Band-Aids and Ibuprofen or Tylenol with me.
  • Snacks – To survive a long flight, first check if they’re serving meals, what kind of meals they serve, and if you can make dietary requests if necessary. In between meals, you might want to snack on some trail mix, nuts, dried fruits and crackers, or other foods high in protein. 

5 Ways To Stay Occupied During Long Flights

I figured since our flight to Ireland was an overnight flight, I would sleep. I slept some of the way, but considering it was 9 or 10 hours, I couldn’t sleep the for the whole flight. Here are some ways to keep yourself busy (or make you sleepy)…

  • Headphones or earbuds – Make sure to bring the kind that plug in so that you can connect to the plane’s entertainment if it’s available. If you have your own agenda, and want wireless, I suggest these super comfortable headphones.

How to survive a long flight

  • Offline Games – If you’re bringing your tablet or smartphone, download apps and games that don’t require internet. There are great offline games for Android and iPhones.
  • Books and Podcasts – Even if you have a subscription service for your books or favorite podcasts, often they’ll allow you to download several episodes or even an entire book. This way you can listen without the internet. Or, you know, read an actual book.
  • Laptop – There’s always you laptop if you want to get work done or watch your own movies on a bigger screen. 

I would also suggest downloading an app called TripIt. It will keep all of your travel info in one place. There is a free and Pro edition.

What do you keep with you on the plane to make a long flight more bearable?

About Author

Dusty is the editor of As Mom Sees It, a family lifestyle and travel site. She is a wife and mother of two in Ohio.

Dusty has been featured on ABC, on Mom Talk Radio and in iBlog Magazine. Her creations have been featured on Craftgawker, DIY Weddings, and in 2013, As Mom Sees It was named one of the Top 50 New Product Review Sites by Cision.

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